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Old 03-12-2007, 07:30 PM   #76
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
「...とうとう力比べをすることになってしまったんです。『ぢゃ僕は坐っているから、天竜さん押して下さい。遠慮しないでもいいですよ。』と押させたんですが、僕の方に は、合気の秘法があるからビクもしない...」

My translation:

"...at last we ended up having a contest of strength.
'Well, I'll sit down, so you push me, Tenryu-san. You don't have to hold back!' I said and had him push me, but because I had the secret (methods) of Aiki, I didn't move an inch."

秘法 hihou, "the secret, secret method", is a nice loaded term. In general it refers to any secret methods of anything. Unlike gokui or ogi, two terms often translated as "secret" which refer to an essentially hidden nucleus, hihou refers to methods which are specifically not shown to other people. ... he's referring to methods which he was in no mood to teach openly and explicitly, particularly to a large organization like the Aikikai. An organization which he was originally opposed to in the first place.
Back to that interview again. So, should we presume he divulged this to Saito at Iwama , and not to the Aikikai, proper ?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-12-2007, 08:45 PM   #77
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
1) This is exactly the same thing as Aikido. Neither muscular, "external" means of practice, nor blending like the breeze using no force, are "correct". Both ways are not using Ki.
Generally, I agree. Kihon waza, properly done, in a program that uses and informs them as instances of kokyu tanden ho, are neither.
Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
2) Internal mechanics are not easy to grasp. .... Without explicit research and focus on what is right and what is wrong, making progress is difficult. Not getting it, even with access to someone with real skills, appears to be the norm. The idea of getting it just by repeated practice of external mechanics is beyond ridiculous. It will simply never happen.
Which is why some work on the ACTUAL mechanics might very well be of some help. They do exist, it is not some pipe dream. What is done can be described in this way.
Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
3) The focus of people like Akuzawa, Mike, etc is to try to distill things and/or put them into Western terms so that people with day jobs can hope to get somewhere with this stuff in a reasonable amount of time.
Putting things in Western terms would be nice, but I have not heard their efforts described in those terms, by them or anyone else.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:32 PM   #78
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Back to that interview again. So, should we presume he divulged this to Saito at Iwama , and not to the Aikikai, proper ?
No. Why would we?

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:10 AM   #79
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
I am wondering why this discussion about -aikido- got banished to the new "Non-Aikido" forum. I can understand why the Baseline Skillset thread was plopped here, because it has so much reference to Chinese arts, but it's puzzling how a topic that explores the history and mysteries of the internal part of aikido would be considered "non-aikido."
It's pretty simple, when the bulk of the discussion revolves around description and terminology which are not standard to Aikido it belongs here. It could be about internal energy or it could be about using kali flow drills to improve ones Aikido technique.

The problem with the forum of late is that folks with a high degree of expertise in what I would consider to be related arts have been able to dominate the discussion because their training methods and terminology are different from what Aikido folks are used to.

So there has been a problem with Aikido folks feeling like they are being pushed out of their own site by folks who do not actually do Aikido. The most experienced Aikido folks agree that these discussions have a lot of merit and follow them closely but they may or may not seem relevant to the majority of folks out there doing the art. So the best solution was to give such discussions a separate space where the non-Aikido folks can post their very valuable contributions without the Aikido folks feeling like their site has been taken over.

The Aikido folks can tune in or not as they see fit. They can even filter the topic out if they so desire. It just gives people more control over their viewing.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:02 AM   #80
Fred Little
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

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The aikido curriculum was dumbed down and made the way it is today simply because 99% of Aikido practicioners would probably drop out. My guess is he just wanted to spread Aikido as something that everyone could practice, and didnt care whether or not the "essence" got transmited. Otherwise I think you'd see much more information on the way he trained in private
Rob,

I think there's another plausible explanation.

Maybe he independently achieved Sturgeon's Realization, the unexpurgated version of which is Ninety percent of everything is crap.

If you add that to the very real risk of a skillset disappearing due to small numbers of practitioners, perhaps there was a sense that insuring a larger body of practitioners of a "lite" version of the same art would increase the size of the group comprising the 10% that isn't crap and the 1-2% that truly excels.

As we see from these discussions, there is certainly a proportionally small but vocal group of aikido practitioners who have a definite interest in something more than martial arts lite; if one looks at the ranks of those practicing DR, as well as those studying related skill sets, there are a lot of folk who found enough to attract them to MA in aikido, but who continue to press on for more.

Perhaps that is a sign things are working out exactly as hoped.

Best,

FL
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:07 AM   #81
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Thank you, George. According to Mike's and Dan's past posts, both have trained in Aikido, and/or have encountered and felt numerous high-level Aikido shihan, and thus have a basis for discussing Aikido and its relation to Ueshiba's demonstrated (but seldom replicated by Aikidoka) internal skills.

Because Mike has been involved in Chinese arts for a long time, I can appreciate that his terminology is going to be Chinese-based. But when his educated eye sees what Ueshiba is doing to his ukes, and how his body is positioned, as well as the kinesthetic responses of the ukes, I'd give him credit for being able to discern something familiar -- even if he has only the Chinese lexicon with which to describe it.

So, IMO it is not akin to "kali drills" or such being recommended as additions to aikido training, but the very thing that Morihei Ueshiba did, via Takeda, to instill his internal skills.

To my eyes, the meat of these posts and threads that have flown incessantly for years, is that all of this internal stuff is, indeed, part of Aikido (and even its driving engine), as Ueshiba originally intended it to be, and which he in turn acquired from Daito-ryu (which is why some people refer to Aikido as "Ueshiba-ha Daito-ryu"). That's why these fellows, and the Aikidoka who have felt them, are arguing passionately to put this stuff back in, so the ghost of Ueshiba won't keep hollerin', "That is not my Aikido!" at his post-WWII descendents.

As far as I can see, that's very much an Aikido topic, though, understandably, a very uncomfortable one for some. I do believe that this Training forum is an appropriate "final home" for the thread, though!

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 03-13-2007 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 03-13-2007, 11:29 AM   #82
ChrisMoses
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Because Mike has been involved in Chinese arts for a long time, I can appreciate that his terminology is going to be Chinese-based. But when his educated eye sees what Ueshiba is doing to his ukes, and how his body is positioned, as well as the kinesthetic responses of the ukes, I'd give him credit for being able to discern something familiar -- even if he has only the Chinese lexicon with which to describe it.

[snippage]

As far as I can see, that's very much an Aikido topic, though, understandably, a very uncomfortable one for some. I do believe that this Training forum is an appropriate "final home" for the thread, though!
So one of the main goals of my original post was to outline how one might choose to define internal/external and then look at aikido's training methodology to determine if it actually is. I argue that any martial artist can be judged by both his internal skills and external movements, but that's not what I'm talking about when I refer to internal arts, as that talks about the training paradigm and progression of skill development. Based upon that, and while aikido is probably the worse for it, I do not think that it exists today as an internal art.

Here's some questions:

If this stuff was always part of OSensei's Aikido, where is the terminology? Why aren't we using the Aikido terms for these concepts if they're really a part of Aikido, and let's make the distinction here between OSensei (and his skills) and Aikido, the art that he sort of laid out. Why are we still using the term "fa jing" instead of the aikido/Japanese equivalent?

Where are the exercises to develop these skills? Certainly there are examples out there (shin kokyu, kokyu dosa/aiki age, Shirata's solo exercises...) but why then if these are SO intrinsic to aikido are these the absolutely least uniform aspect of aikido? If these were the foundation of OSensei's aikido, shouldn't these be the kihon rather than ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo? Before everyone brings up the Ki Society, let's all agree that KNK was Tohei's vision for aikido. I believe that if Tohei was actually following OSensei's footsteps that closely, we would see more similarity between KNK and Iwama aikido, and we don't. Dan insists that these skills were/are part of Daito Ryu, but we're still waiting for solid examples of these other than solo exercises that certain senior DR practitioners did as personal training. This could certainly be due to an uneasiness with discussing aspects of an art that he feels he does not have authority to discuss in public. I have a number of similar topics/specifics that I don't feel I have the ownership over enough to discuss publicly. The difference, I suppose, is that I don't really mention them AT ALL.

Please, please, please don't use this thread as another opportunity to validate that you have something to offer the aikido community at large, I don't think many people actually hold that view anymore, and if you're trying to convince me, you're wasting your time, I haven't trained regularly at an aikido dojo in over three years, so my opinion doesn't matter one way or another.

Chris Moses
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Old 03-13-2007, 01:16 PM   #83
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Chris,
It looks like your question is being addressed, at least in part, over in the newly-renamed "Dan, Mike and Aikido" thread in this self-same forum. George wrote a fine post there, and there is some very interesting followup that also relates to what you are asking.

Regards,
Cady
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Old 03-13-2007, 01:25 PM   #84
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Christian - Since Ueshiba seemed to spend more time doing the Misogikai exercises, that Abe Sensei maintains (like funakogu-undo, chanting for long long periods of time, etc.), and stated that this was the key to his aikido - - - - - I tend to take him at his word. Tada Sensei, as quoted by Peter G., stated the same thing, but also stated that Osensei didn't (at least after the war, I interpolate), tell people to do these things and expected people to supplement or find such information on their own. Which leads to Peter G.'s latest column on Transmission, I think.

I have a friend, who is a pure grappler - dare I use the term, MMA - who has always found aikido utterly bewildering. He asked me recently, "So this guy Ueshiba was really supposed to be "the man," right? How could he be that doing that aikido stuff?" I got up and said, "Well, he used to to this kind of stuff for hours a day," and started doing funakogu, first slow and then with some relaxation to "pop." He watched, nodded sagely and said, "Oh, I get it. Core strength training."

best

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Old 03-13-2007, 01:37 PM   #85
Michael McCaslin
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Well, my speculation, and it is exactly that, is that the exercises have two purposes:

1. To develop the body
2. To teach a skill

Many of the early aikidoka already had what would be by today's standards a tremendous amount of martial arts experience, and had the body development to go with it. For them, learning aikido was much more about aquiring the technical skill than it was developing the body. So there's one factor that would push them away from the "simple stuff" like kokyu dosa and toward the waza.

So why wasn't this resisted by the teachers? Why didn't the teachers say "You clowns are missing it. Go back to the basics." I think the teachers, Ueshiba included, really believed that the waza could both teach the skills and develop the body.

I hope everyone will agree that doing technique in the proper way will involve using internal strength. I also think it's not too much of a stretch (forgive the pun) to believe that receiving proper technique will develop the body. If you accept that, then two people practicing primarily waza can build internal skills and develop the body necessary to deliver them.

Unfortunately, there was so little explication that no one really knew what they were doing and what aspects of the practice should be emphasized. So the whole thing deteriorated to a sort of stylized cooperative kata.

It may be that the subset of techniques Ueshiba selected from his Daito Ryu practice were selected specifically for their ability to be practiced in an internal strength building, body developing way without people going home with broken arms and hyperextended elbows. I don't know, I wasn't there. I have spent enough time on the mat to know that many of us are practicing an "empty" aikido.

Some of us are driven to look elsewhere it hopes we can get to the "chewy center" by some other channels. I think that's fine, and I hope lots of us make it. I also think it's believable that some fraction of aikido practitioners will find the goods solely by practicing aikido. That's fine too. I just want enough of the skills to survive that I stand a reasonable chance of learning them from someone. It's frustrating to be willing and able to do the work, but not to have access to someone who can show you what to work on. In that regard, I will be forever indebted to people like Mike Sigman and Dan Harden (and a few others) who have been willing to step out of the background and shine a spotlight on the truth. I have not yet met either one of them. Mike has given me (and many others) lots of his time corresponding about how this stuff works. I know Dan has been doing the same for other people. Rob John has been very forthcoming with what he knows. It's a shame they have to take so much heat for it, and I just hope they continue to do it until I manage to scrape together enough understanding to be able to help spread the word.

Michael
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Old 03-13-2007, 02:01 PM   #86
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

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It's a shame they have to take so much heat for it
Don't worry Michael. They strike me as the type of martial artist's that can take the heat.
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:10 PM   #87
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Quote:
So why wasn't this resisted by the teachers? Why didn't the teachers say "You clowns are missing it. Go back to the basics." I think the teachers, Ueshiba included,
Actually, I think it was resisted by Ueshiba himself...when he said "This is not my aikido!"

Best,
Ron

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Old 03-13-2007, 04:23 PM   #88
Michael McCaslin
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Ron,

I always took that statement by Ueshiba to be less of an indictment of what people were doing than how they were doing it.

Last night I was showing a new student in our dojo the basics of kote gaeshi, and I had him stand relaxed while I very slowly applied the lock, pointing out the points along the way where a new link in the chain to his center was formed. I remember thinking that I don't get nearly the level of tension when I work my connections in solo practice as other people get when I apply technique to them-- if and only if they receive the technique in the correct way, i.e. stand in there until I actually take their center.

It seems like most people who take ukemi "bail out" and take a dive as soon as it's apparent where the technique is going. I believe they are encouraged to do this, and told they are risking inury if they don't. In some dojos I've been in, this is absolutely true. The techniques are applied so explosively that if you don't go with the flow on time (or early) something is going to give way. Over time, this leads to empty practice, because tori is not moving uke-- uke is moving uke.

I think it's better for both tori and uke if the technique is applied with more sensitivity, which allows uke and tori to really work the center to center connection and test its limits. I believe this may be what the founder expected us to be doing, but most of us aren't doing it.

It's hard for me to believe Ueshiba looked at people doing waza and said, "That's not my aikido!" because he meant they should all be doing solo exercises. I think he said it because the waza were not being done in the spirit in which he intended them to be.

This is not to say solo exercises are not important, because every living exponent of the arts with real skill has clearly stated that they are the key. But I put them in the category of homework-- I think dojo time should be spent doing the things you can't do without a partner, be it waza practice, kokyu dosa, or static testing. Waza practice done correctly can be a form of dynamic testing, and I think this has real value. Hard to come by, though!

Michael

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Old 03-13-2007, 05:38 PM   #89
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

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Michael McCaslin wrote: View Post

It's hard for me to believe Ueshiba looked at people doing waza and said, "That's not my aikido!" because he meant they should all be doing solo exercises. I think he said it because the waza were not being done in the spirit in which he intended them to be.
Despite statements to the contrary, I do not believe that O-Sensei was talking about technique at all when he made that statement. I think he was commenting on the fact that most of the deshi were focused almost solely on technique.

I believe that one could incorporate all of the internal kokyu development aspects which have been under discussion and one would still not be doing "O-Sensei's Aikido" as he saw it. It wasn't about the technique!

All this talk about who can and can't throw who, whether MMA folks can beat up Aikido folks is almost completely irrelevant to what O-Sensei wanted his art to be. I am not saying that martial skill is not to be had through Aikido training. It is a by product of proper training or should be. But it simply isn't the point. O-Sensei bemoaned the fact that so many of his students couldn't see beyond the waza. They wanted to be able to do what he did. They failed to see what he wanted them to be.

One can see just how FEAR motivates so much discussion about martial arts and in this case, Aikido. What if an Aikido guy meets a guy trained in knife fighting? Could an Aikido guy with a sword handle a guy training in kenjutsu? I better train in two or three other arts as well Aikido so that I can win if I get in a fight...

What is this fight everyone's preparing for? As Pogo stated "we have met the enemy and he is us." Where is the 46 page discussion of masa katsu agatsu? The vast majority of discussions here revolve around technical issues yet 90% of what O-Sensei talked about was spiritual. The point of the whole thing was never about fighting. You can develop all the kokyu power you want and still not get that fact.

I am not in any way, disparaging what I see as very important issues regarding internal power, kokyu training etc. I am trying to research these areas myself for my own training. But people's focus on how important these issues are to being able to fight simply shows that they are still coming from a FEAR based point of view.

O-Sensei made this very clear when Mochizuki Sensei came back from France and stated that he had felt that his Aikido was lacking as he had had to fall back on tricks from his other martial training to prevail in his challenge matches. O-Sensei simply told him that he hadn't understood what his (O-Sensei's Aikido) was about. I am sure that it didn't have to do with being immovable or being able to knock someone through the air without seeming to move.

Training should be a transformative experience. But it must be done with the right mindset. All this ability that some folks have in the area of internal power to be unlockable or unthrowable is just that, they are unlockable or unthrowable. That isn't doing Aikido. Those skills might be a by product of Aikido training, or should be, but they are hardly the point of that training. That's why I keep saying that folks from outside Aikido can't save the art. The idea that these internal skills ARE Aikido is wrong. They are part of skilled Aikido but they are hardly the point of the training. Winning over some enemy or beating some hypothetical opponent simply misses the whole point. That's what O-Sensei meant when he said "no one is doing my Aikido."

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Old 03-13-2007, 06:08 PM   #90
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I believe that one could incorporate all of the internal kokyu development aspects which have been under discussion and one would still not be doing "O-Sensei's Aikido" as he saw it. It wasn't about the technique!
But George, couldn't that internal kokyu be precisely what Ueshiba was able to use to be unthrowable, unbudge-able, unstrike-able? And wouldn't such an ability allow one to practice Aikido in the spirit of peace, without causing harm, without violence, as Ueshiba had intended? It means not having to use throws or waza/technique at all. All he had to do is "be Ueshiba," and attackers bounced off him harmlessly and unharmed. Or, he could direct them gently (relatively) away.

Maybe that's what he meant by "This is not my Aikido!" when he saw students robustly throwing each other, instead of the minimalization of technique. Food for thought. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall (but not in the way of any flying bodies...).

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Old 03-13-2007, 07:11 PM   #91
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
But George, couldn't that internal kokyu be precisely what Ueshiba was able to use to be unthrowable, unbudge-able, unstrike-able? And wouldn't such an ability allow one to practice Aikido in the spirit of peace, without causing harm, without violence, as Ueshiba had intended? It means not having to use throws or waza/technique at all. All he had to do is "be Ueshiba," and attackers bounced off him harmlessly and unharmed. Or, he could direct them gently (relatively) away.

Maybe that's what he meant by "This is not my Aikido!" when he saw students robustly throwing each other, instead of the minimalization of technique. Food for thought. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall (but not in the way of any flying bodies...).
Certainly the inability of people to throw him was an example of kokyu power. No one is trying to maintain that it is not. O-Sensei often did that type of thing at demos or with challengers who came from grappling arts. He was trying to "sell" the art so to speak. It did not represent the sum total of his art. It was a byproduct of the training, not the point of the training. But to attract new students he would often whip these things out because it attracted students who wanted to be like him.

Just take a look at that film from the Asahi demo in 1935(?). The vast majority of the demo is flowing movement. He only does the immovable thing briefly. That's what he was putting out there as Aikido. That's what was taught at his dojo and continued to be taught into the fifties and sixties.

O-Sensei's view of the art was based on the connection between the kototama and the energetic expression of the kototama in movement. In every technique he manifested what he saw as the essential energy of the universe to create form. The doing of this is a way to put oneself in accord with the Kami. The competitive mind is not an example of this energy. Striving to make oneself invincible is a fundamental misunderstanding of what he was doing. Worrying about being invincible. unlockable, unthrowable, etc is essentially still the "fighting mind", the mind of dualism. O-Sensei's Aikido was not about that, it went way beyond.

Do you think that Takeda Sensei couldn't do the things technically that O-Sensei could? Of course he could. Why do people think O-Sensei created Aikido? If it was about being immovable, unlockable, unthrowable, etc he could very well have stayed with Daito Ryu. Understanding Aikido is about understanding the form O-Sensei gave the practice but it is also about how the practice of that form will create change in the practitioner. The form is different from Daito Ryu, the practice is different from Daito Ryu. Whereas some elements of Daito Ryu seem to have gotten misplaced along the way, reintroduction of those elements will not in and of themselves produce "O-Sensei's Aikido".

Aikido is about opening up ones heart through practice. It involves understanding and embracing a set of values which often get demeaned by others because they make the individual look weak. O-Sensei used his martial skills to show people that he wasn't weak in order to have credibility when he talked about his spiritual ideas. Kokyu power, as both Dan and Mike have repeatedly stated is about proper technique. It is teachable and trainable. It should be part of good Aikido; no question there. But it's just technique! It isn't the goal, it's a byproduct of proper pursuit of the art.

This is why bringing every discussion back to these issues is futile. There are many more factors at work in Aikido aside from these. O-Sensei knew people, he knew that the way to get someone's attention was to show them the power. But just look at what he did once he got them enrolled, what he emphasized every time he was on the mat with his students. This constantly gets ignored by folks who just want to focus on the martial application side. This misses O-Sensei's whole point and was exactly why he said that "no one was doing his Aikido."

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 03-13-2007, 08:16 PM   #92
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

George, with all due respect, I shall repeat the second sentence of my first paragraph, which you seem to have missed: And wouldn't such an ability allow one to practice Aikido in the spirit of peace, without causing harm, without violence, as Ueshiba had intended?

It just seems more and more to me that the route to peace prescribed by Ueshiba was/is within those kokyu methods. One can choose whether to use them in fighting, or for something utterly non-aggressive. To just stand there and let an attacker wear himself out... how is that a fighting technique? These internal aspects, as others have explained on these forums earlier, are not in themselves "technique," but (here come those dirty words again...) baseline skills upon which technique may be built and powered. They are a way of being, breathing and moving, and how one uses them is left to choice once those skills are mastered: for peaceful non-aggressiveness, or for fighting. Ueshiba chose the former as his expression of this form of internal power.

Why wouldn't this be compatible with opening one's heart, and of embracing a set of values centered on harmony, peace and non-violent resolution of conflict? The caveat is that we can really be truly peaceful, compassionate and merciful only through a position of strength. No one can bargain freely from a position of weakness. The power to bargain lies in the hands of the person who has the underlying ability to stand for himself. Having the strengths that Ueshiba had, puts human beings in the position of being everything that you wish Aikido and Aikidoka to be! And you never have to harm a single soul.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 03-13-2007 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:03 PM   #93
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

What is Osensei's aikido and am I doing it?

Unless I'm experiencing things such as:
"Suddenly, the ground began shaking. A golden vapor wafted up from the ground and enveloped me. I was transformed into a golden image, and my body felt as light as a feather. All at once I understood the meaning of creation: the Way of a Warrior is to manifest Divine Love, a spirit that embraces, loves, and protects all things."
I'm probably not doing Osenei's aikido.

The only aikido I know is that which I learned from Iwao Yamaguchi sensei and a few others along the way. I have taken what I have learned and made it mine. It is not Osensei's aikido nor is it Yamaguchi sensei's aikido. It is mine and is inseparable from me. How can I know or do another man's aikido? I can get small glimpses by touching, feeling and training, but I must make it mine. One's aikido is highly individualistic.

Some say that the Aikikai have distilled the art down to a technique based art. I whole heartedly disagree with that point of view. If it was all about the technique there wouldn't be this statement on their website.

A pure budo comes with the unification of technique, body and heart. The budo, which will manifest itself, does not depend upon the technique, but rather upon the heart of the practitioner.

Now, does that sound like a budo based on technique? Whoever wrote that obviously understands aikido on a pretty deep level.

My aikido involves breathing correctly while repairing my roof. Sometimes I will stand up and take a deep breath from the cool outdoor air. It involves dragging my children to the dojo for an indescribable interaction that can only be experienced in the dojo . It involves planning a fun filled weekend with my son at Mt Baldy training with like minded aikidoka. It is part of me and I LOVE IT!

When Osensei said, "You're not doing my aikido." did he mean it in a derogatory manor? Could it be as simple as, You're not doing my aikido. A simple statement of fact. Could we be reading way too much into it. As someone else mentioned, Osensei was a madman. He trained in ways that I will never do. He spent an extraordinary amount of time on his aikido. I will never approach that kind of commitment and hence will never come close to his aikido. I'm good with that. I just want to keep improving my aikido.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:46 PM   #94
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
... They failed to see what he wanted them to be.... Training should be a transformative experience. ... That's why I keep saying that folks from outside Aikido can't save the art. The idea that these internal skills ARE Aikido is wrong. They are part of skilled Aikido but they are hardly the point of the training. Winning over some enemy or beating some hypothetical opponent simply misses the whole point. That's what O-Sensei meant when he said "no one is doing my Aikido."
May I respectfully suggest: that O Sensei's Aikido was intended to be internal training directed far deeper than some are prepared to acknowledge, willing to seek, or to work on.
Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Why wouldn't this be compatible with opening one's heart, and of embracing a set of values centered on harmony, peace and non-violent resolution of conflict? The caveat is that we can really be truly peaceful, compassionate and merciful only through a position of strength.
Power. You are talking about power -- the ability to make choices and influence outcomes. Fundamentally, my training leads me to conclude that aikido is not about power. It is certainly powerful, but that is not the same thing. Gravity is immensely powerful and inexorable in its action, but it makes no choices, has no desire for influence, nor any concern about outcome. It just is and acts. Aikido is about giving up power, to become powerful in something that may ultimately approach that quality. O Sensei's Aikido , it seems to me is not about force of will, but force of nature.
Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
No one can bargain freely from a position of weakness. The power to bargain lies in the hands of the person who has the underlying ability to stand for himself.
Is budo really transactional? Do I bargain for my life? Is this bargaining really free, on either side? What price is that, exactly? Do sell it as dear as I can? If I sell mine for the cost of five or ten others, have I made a good bargain, then? These are legitimate questions in the logic of bargaining power. They seem far removed from the reason of aikido.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:50 AM   #95
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Respectfully, I think people are (again) trying to mask what people like Mike and Dan have said with their own fears and prejudices. It is unfortunate, because this constant reframing of the discussions keeps folks away from the meat of the topic, in my opinion.

Quote:
The competitive mind is not an example of this energy. Striving to make oneself invincible is a fundamental misunderstanding of what he was doing. Worrying about being invincible. unlockable, unthrowable, etc is essentially still the "fighting mind", the mind of dualism. O-Sensei's Aikido was not about that, it went way beyond.
I'll just speak for myself, since speaking for others is usually fraught with danger. When I approached Dan in his barn, I was up front about not being interested in fighting. I'm simply not interested in being invincible, in being able to best other people. My life simply does not call for that (thankfully). I wanted to pursue the skills he showed because from what I felt, and from my limited understanding, Aikido is an empty shell without them. It's not that I haven't felt gradients of this power from others...just that Dan displayed openly more of it than just about anyone I can think of.

And I want to do Aikido, not an empty shell. Daito ryu is an empty shell without them. And when I visit a Daito ryu dojo, I want to do Daito ryu, not an empty shell. But more importantly, and Dan stressed this to me personally, I want to be the best person I can be, and I believe that pursuing these skills is part of that path. Dan said to me "I want you to be the best Ron you can be". He spoke of the open heart. He welcomed us into his training space, and while he had to power to destroy if he wanted, instead he set about trying to transform us. To simply be better.

I find that to be very unselfish, not at all about besting us or anyone else. And frankly, I must admit I do resent some of the insinuations, mis-characterizations, and barbs thrown his way.

But if you must foist your own fears and prejudices upon us, well...we can't stop you. Have at it. Enjoy. Look no further, don't go and see for yourself, close the door now.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:15 AM   #96
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Training and Aikido.

Even the first students had their own way of training and bickering and breaking of traditions and going their own way.

So, I'll just say that my training is different than Erick's or Ricky's and let them go along their own way. I think enough's been said for now.

I lean more towards Cady's and Ledyard sensei's views, which I think in the end are fairly close.

Seems Ron and I agree fairly often, so I take that as a compliment.

And, after meeting Dan, Mike, and Rob, I think what they offer in the way of training in "baseline skills" or "internal stuff", however you want to describe it, is valuable. It's a skill that should be in Aikido, IMO.

And I find that I have a slight sense of loss for those who kept butting heads with Dan and Mike. I'll be the first to say that I thought I had an idea of what they were talking about, then after a few posts I started to realize that I really didn't. But, I kept an open mind about it all and finally met them - and Rob. What I found were great people having fun training. They were open and fielded a lot of questions. Some of the conversations I had were about Ueshiba, aikido history, pre-war students, aiki, etc. In fact, even if I had found that these skills didn't belong in aikido, meeting Dan, Mike, and Rob and the conversations I had would have been worth it all.

For all those who take the view of not wanting non-aikido people giving advice on how aikido is supposed to be ... *sigh* ... yeah. A lot there to go over.

1. I have no idea of Dan, Mike, Rob, Akuzawa's backgrounds to any detailed degree. I have an overview (more so than the naysayers, but then again, I kept my cup large enough and empty enough for it to be filled), but nothing detailed. How much do the naysayers really know, then? Just what's been posted, Mike=Tai ji, Rob = Aunkai, Dan = MMA, Akuzawa = Aunkai. yeah, a whole lot of info there to base decisions upon.

2. How often do you take advice from people outside your field? Have children that are in t-ball, softball? Make sure the coach is playing softball or baseball. Have children, then don't take any advice from anyone who doesn't have children. Olympic athletes, don't get coached by anyone not doing what you're doing. Musicians, make sure you aren't taking advice on how to play from someone who doesn't play the instrument you're playing. Don't go to a psychiatrist at all because chances are they have never had or gone through the problems you're having. Get the picture?

3. Don't be a Kano. After all, why would you want to be like someone who was completely outside aikido, yet went, saw, liked what he saw, and gave compliments. Better yet, sent students to cross train. Nah, just shut it out completely because, really, that upstart Ueshiba isn't doing Judo. What would he know about Budo?

4. Oh, definitely don't be an Ueshiba Morihei. I mean, how can someone completely outside of what you're doing give you advice on your martial art and Budo training. How dare that meddling Deguchi influence Ueshiba. Deguchi knew nothing of martial art training. Nor was there any need to bring in any other martial art. Aikido is all he needed. Why bring in KSR sword training and watch it at all? Those people don't know aikido and certainly can't influence the founder.

5. No. No one outside aikido can possibly have anything at all -- only those in aikido can influence or say how to do it. So, let's just throw out all those people doing koryu alongside aikido and finding that the koryu training is actually helping them understand aikido better. Aw, hell no. Toss that right out. Koryu can't possibly do that. Only aikido teachers can know what's best for aikido, and that has to come from within aikido.

Training? yeah, I'll stick to my training and hope that I get to train with the people I have been training with. They're a great group and have a lot to offer. I'm thankful that they put up with me.

Mark
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:35 AM   #97
Jorge Garcia
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Respectfully, I think people are (again) trying to mask what people like Mike and Dan have said with their own fears and prejudices. It is unfortunate, because this constant reframing of the discussions keeps folks away from the meat of the topic, in my opinion.

I'll just speak for myself, since speaking for others is usually fraught with danger. When I approached Dan in his barn, I was up front about not being interested in fighting. I'm simply not interested in being invincible, in being able to best other people. My life simply does not call for that (thankfully). I wanted to pursue the skills he showed because from what I felt, and from my limited understanding, Aikido is an empty shell without them. It's not that I haven't felt gradients of this power from others...just that Dan displayed openly more of it than just about anyone I can think of.

And I want to do Aikido, not an empty shell. Daito ryu is an empty shell without them. And when I visit a Daito ryu dojo, I want to do Daito ryu, not an empty shell. But more importantly, and Dan stressed this to me personally, I want to be the best person I can be, and I believe that pursuing these skills is part of that path. Dan said to me "I want you to be the best Ron you can be". He spoke of the open heart. He welcomed us into his training space, and while he had to power to destroy if he wanted, instead he set about trying to transform us. To simply be better.

I find that to be very unselfish, not at all about besting us or anyone else. And frankly, I must admit I do resent some of the insinuations, mis-characterizations, and barbs thrown his way.

But if you must foist your own fears and prejudices upon us, well...we can't stop you. Have at it. Enjoy. Look no further, don't go and see for yourself, close the door now.
Best,
Ron
Ron,
I really want to stay out of this because I haven't seen anyone getting ahead by jumping into this. I appreciate George Ledyard venturing out once in a while because for any of the senior Aikido practitioners to say much is again, a losing situation but here goes.
Yes, there are misunderstandings. Yes, a couple of people are having fun poking fun and there has been bad behavior but I really don't see what you see. There have been some honest posters with honest disagreements and they have been civil and Mike and Dan have not been as polite in their responses thus evoking some heat. The "come feel these skills group" has not been without fault. I have been lurking and posting here for a while myself and I am not in anyone's "group". I never have been. Here on Aikiweb, we have people who know each other and talk privately and are friends. They are online friends and some just appreciate each others posts. They occasionally take sides on issues and have disagreements but it has been a while since have seen the lines drawn like this. Why all the hoopla? Where did all the commotion come from? Some have said it was because of an "old Guard" being defensive and all kinds of things that apply a pretty broad brush.
These guys may have the goods. They may be really nice guys in person and they may be sincere but there are a lot of things about their approach to helping Aikido that is abit much. Believe it or not, a different approach to all this on the part of those who "know more" probably would have made this all so boring, I never would have heard of them.Maybe we are no good. Maybe we are ignorant but I don't feel like any of my teachers lied to me and if they themselves don't know these skills and that's why they didn't teach me, then I hold nothing against them. I have a tremendous gratitude for my time in Aikido and I have always thought that the people I have met were the greatest on earth. There is a lot of Aikido I know is crummy and I have had friends in styles that I would never do but I would be a real jerk if I went over to their dojos and talked to them with some of the verbiage I have read here. I have never presumed to go and offer to help some of those people. When they have invited me, they have since invited me back and then a cross style communication started and we shared like friends. Many of thier students later came to my dojo with their Sensei's permission and I stayed friends with their Sensei. I hope that the internal skills guys do show everyone the way to improve because it will be a loss for us if they don't but I can't blame anyone for misunderstanding them or not liking they way they came across.
Best wishes,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:42 AM   #98
DH
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Jorge
I respectfully disagree. I have received many compliments for staying the course when people have pursued me repeatedly. It is very rare for me to be rude in response. Blunt-yes. Rude no. I cannot say the same for comments of a personal nature I continually have to face.
My points are
This.... is.... Aiki.
Your people have come and felt it.
They claim it is aiki
talk to them

Dan
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:31 AM   #99
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Jorge, I feel like you are very respectful in your demeanor, and have no issues with what you perceive. Good people sometimes differ. No worries there. Thanks for your response.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:49 PM   #100
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Aikido as External Art -or- Where's the Chewy Center?

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Hi Mark, I just wanted to add to that point. The following is a translation from Wang Tsung-yueh's Treatise on T'ai-chi ch'uan:

"Friends, you can gain a great deal from a very simple explanation. Let us consider, for example, a few people who have practiced T'ai-chi every day for five or six years, but who are always bested in competition. A colleague asked, "You have studied faithfully for five or six years, but why are you still not successful? Please demonstrate the Thirteen Postures so I can see." What we see in his form is "horse stances," clenched fists, a fierce countenance, and gritted teeth. He has as much strength as an ox, but his ch'i is nowhere to be seen. This is the result of practicing double-weighted. A colleague laughed and said. "You, Sir, have simply failed to understand the error of double-weightedness." Another man said, "I have been practicing without using force for five or six years, but why is it that I cannot even knock over a ten year old kid?" The colleague asked him to demonstrate the Thirteen Postures and noticed that indeed he used no force at all. However, he was floating like goose down and didn't dare to extend his hands or feet. He was even afraid to open his eyes wide. The colleague laughed and said, "You, Sir, are guilty of the error of 'double-floating.' Double-weightedness is an error and double-floating is also an error." Everyone laughed and asked, "How can we discover the true method of practice?"

[snip]
Pete:

Just curious as to the source for your translation of Wang Zongyue's Taijiquanjing. I've never seen it rendered as a cocktail conversation before. While I'm no expert in Chinese, most English translations of Wang's writing run along the lines of Smith and Zheng's, below. I think there are more than subtle differences.

Translation taken from Robert W. Smith and Zheng Manqing, "Taijiquan":

Taiji comes from infinity; from it spring yin and yang. In movement the two act independently; in stillness they fuse into one. There should be no excess and no insufficiency.

You yield at your opponent's slightest pressure and adhere to him at his slightest retreat. To conquer the strong by yielding is termed "withdraw" (tsou). To improve your position to the detriment of your opponent is called "adherence" (chan). You respond quickly to a fast action, slowly to a slow action. Although the changes are numerous, the principle remains the same. Dilligent practice brings the skill of "interpreting strength". Beyond this achievement lies the ultimate goal: complete mastery of an opponent without recourse to detecting his energy. This, however, requires ardous practice.

The spirit of vitality reaches to the top of the head and the qi sinks to the navel. The body is held erect without leaning in any direction. Your opponent should not be able to detect your change from substantial to insubstantial or vice versa, because of your speed in effecting this change. When your opponent brings pressure on your left side, that side should be empty. The same holds for the right side. When he pushes upward or downward against you, he feels as if there is no end to the emptiness he encounters. When he advances against you, he feels the distance incredibly long; when he retreats, he feels it exasperatingly short.

The entire body is so light that a feather will be felt and so pliable that a fly cannot alight on it without setting it in motion. Your opponent cannot detect your moves but you can anticipate his. If you can master all these techniques you will become a peerless boxer.

In boxing there are myriad schools. Although they differ in form and scale, they can never go beyond reliance on the strong defeating the weak or the swift conquering the slow. Yet these are the result of physical endowments and not practical application and experience. The strong and the quick, however, cannot explain and have no part in the deflection of a thousand pound momentum with a trigger force of four ounces or of an old man defeating a great number of men.

Stand like a balance and move actively like a cart wheel. Keep your weight sunk on one side. If it is spread on two feet you will be pushed over easily. Coordinating the substantial is the key here. If that is achieved, then you can interpret strength. After this, by practicing vigorously, studying and remembering, one can reach the stage of total reliance on the mind. Forget yourself and yield to others. Go gradually, according to the right method. Above all, learn these techniques correctly; the slightest divergence will take you far off the path.
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